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2014: February

This month we give our opinions on how to make the politicians listen, wonder about Scottish independence and praise our contesting diversity

Making the politicians listen

When it comes to trying to pin down a politician of any political colour for help, it usually results in them telling you everything you want to hear in support your aims and objectives, but nothing that they will actually do to assist you in meeting them.

It is an expert form of invisible succour that invariably amounts to a great deal of rhetoric and very little else. 

How Brass Bands England can therefore translate a highly encouraging start to their renewed efforts to persuade MPs into substantive activism on behalf of the brass band movement through the setting up of a new Parliamentary Group, is the key to its prospects of future success. 

Previous attempts at political representation at Westminster have been inept, leaving the brass band movement nothing more than a patronised laughing stock. 

Thankfully, BBE is now led by a man who understands how the body politic works and is ably assisted by another who is expert in the lingua franca of the government apparatchiks who hold the purse strings for all important funding streams. 

Mike Kilroy and Roy Terry have one heck of a task on their hands to repair years of embarrassing amateurism. We should all offer them our wholehearted and proactive support.  

Perhaps then, the politicians may just be forced to do more than politely nod their heads and offer meaningless platitudes.

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com 


Open Scottish borders

Some people it seems are wondering just what might happen to the future make up of UK banding if Scotland decides to opt for political independence.

Will Alex Salmond stop Scottish bands competing at the ‘Nationals’ in London or Cheltenham, or will he just let them get on with it - sending representatives down each year, as they have always done to try and claim some silverware?

You suspect that whatever decision is made by the Scots come voting day, brass band independence hasn’t been foremost in their minds when scouring any political party’s manifesto priorities.

The Nationals have always been inclusive (and the clever Scots already run their own ‘National’ Championship  anyway - which just happens to also send bands to compete at the Albert Hall and Cheltenham) - so whatever the outcome on September 18th, you suspect a break-up of the brass band ‘union’ is not going to happen anytime soon.

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com 


In praise of contesting diversity

There are many things that need radical overhaul in the brass band contest environment - but the element that remains core to its survival and appeal is its amazing variety.

Test piece, own choice, entertainment, march & hymn tune, set work/own choice, open adjudication or closed, points or placings, promotion and relegation - the variations on the genre are as simple, complex or numerous as an event promoter wishes them to be.

As a result there is a format to suit any band almost anywhere and at any time in the banding world - from holiday camps to symphony halls.    

We may well bemoan a lack of prize money, registration anomalies,  increased entry fees and even judges decisions each time we compete, but there cannot be a single person who can say the banding movement isn’t spoilt for musical choice as to how best we choose to perform competitively.

Long may it continue. 

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com 



Walsall Brass Band - Willenhall Singers

Saturday 18 November • Sneyd Communnity Centre, Vernon Way, Bloxwich, Walsall. WS3 2PA


Rushden Town Band -

Saturday 18 November • Park Rd Baptist Church, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 0RW


Contest: Brass in Concert

Saturday 18 November • Sage Gateshead, St Mary's Square, Gateshead NE28 2JR


Foden's Band - Morley Town Hall

Saturday 18 November • Queen Street, Morley LS27 9DY


Black Dyke Band - Waterford, Ireland

Saturday 18 November • Carriganore Arena, Waterford Institute of Technology Sports Campus tbc


Newstead Brass

November 18 • Bb Cornet (position negotiable). . Newstead Brass, established Midlands Championship section, have opportunity for an additional cornet player. Suitable for experienced player or someone looking to take the next step in their development.


Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

November 17 • FRONT ROW CORNET. SOLO TROMBONE. . The band have an exciting concert/contest/marching schedule ahead. We are looking for a committed front row cornet and solo trombone player to come and join us in the Yorkshire 1st Section! MD: Richard Larder.


Glossop Old Band

November 17 • SOLO TROMBONE. The Glossop Old Band Welcomes applications for the Solo Trombone Chair. The Band will be competing in the First Section as of 2018 and are looking to continue its progression back to the top levels of performance


Dr. Stephen Arthur Allen

D. Phil. (Oxon) [Ph.D Oxford University], GBSM, LTCL, ABSM, ALCM, Cert. Ed.